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2023 MDA Team of the Year and 4th Quarter Awards Announced!

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 14, 2024) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture recently honored Patricia Gitlin (Resource Conservation), Annette Bilodeau (Administration), and Lynn Buehler (Administration) as the 2023 MDA Team of the Year. The team was recognized with individual plaques for their outstanding service, key decision-making, and attention to detail while navigating MDA budgetary matters. Combined, Patricia, Annette, and Lynn have over 40 years of combined service to the State of Maryland.  Congratulations to this team on this well-earned honor!      

“I often say MDA team members are the best of the best!” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “I am pleased to honor our Team of the Year and the 4th Quarter Employees, recognizing their hard work and dedication to the MDA Mission!”

In addition to 2023 Team of the Year, the following employees were recognized with the following 4th Quarter Awards– 

Fourth Quarter, Leadership Award: Tong Hsu- Weights and Measures, Metrologist 

Tong has worked at MDA for ten years, starting as a field inspector and eventually becoming a metrologist. During a time when MDA did not have the national accreditation required to have a metrology lab, Tong led the effort of reopening the lab and establishing the needed accreditation. Tong has served as a mentor to his teammates who are becoming accredited metrologists. Tong is a diligent, caring, and valued member of MDA, answering every question and offering patience as the staff learns volumetric measurement. 

Fourth Quarter, Leadership Award: Melissa Edmonds- Resource Conservation

Missy joined MDA as a team member of the Carroll Soil Conservation District in 1996, the day after graduating from high school.  Quickly building a strong rapport with her co-workers and cooperators, Missy rose in the agency as an Engineering Technician.  Exceeding goals and excelling in performance, Missy is a valued member of the Caroll SCD office.  

Fourth Quarter, Best Team: Rachel McVey and Ashley McDowell- Frederick Animal Health Lab

As MDA team members of the Frederick Animal Health Lab, Rachel & Ashley work as a team to exceed the requirements and expectations of the job daily. Demonstrating a high level of personal and team accountability, they are always ready to jump in and help out with a smile.  They exhibit excellent customer service skills and strive to meet customers’ requirements. They are courteous to customers and co-workers and strive to help them in a timely manner. They handle all inquiries accurately and independently, conduct research if the answer is not known, and get back to the client quickly.  They continually contribute to the team to improve processes, modernization, and efforts to go paperless.  They continue to demonstrate outstanding performance. I am very thankful and appreciative to have both Rachel & Ashley as part of our team, supporting our mission at the MDA Frederick Animal Health Laboratory. 

Fourth Quarter, Outstanding Performance: Amber North-Staves Resource Conservation 

Amber brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to MDA through her work in Resource Conservation.  A team player always pitching in to help while excelling at her job duties, Amber provides assistance to her coworkers and supervisors with a positive attitude.  She motivates those around her and offers encouragement and advice when needed.  Amber is a true asset to MDA! 

Fourth Quarter, Customer Service: Rocky Donovan- Resource Conservation 

A valued member of the MDA team in the Talbot Soil Conservation District, Rocky provides top-notch customer service.  He consistently receives praise and high marks from producers who work with the District.  He has provided tremendous assistance in navigating projects and does so with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. His customers know they can count on Rocky to be effective in his communication and supportive of core mission goals.  

Fourth Quarter, Outstanding Performance: Ray Geist- Resource Conservation

Ray Geist has been a member of the HPAI Emergency Response Team since 2022 and has excelled at learning and understanding the responsibilities of the many different field roles (Biosecurity Officer, Site Manager, Environmental Sampling Team, Compost Team) needed during the response. He has also demonstrated knowledge and skill to operate and maintain the specialized equipment required to combat the HPAI disease spread. Ray will always go above and beyond to ensure that any role or task he has been assigned is completed thoroughly and to the best of his ability! 

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888